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the showdown. possible signs of progress on capitol hill tonight just days before the government runs out of money to pay all its bills. as frustration builds at home and abroad. crash landing. a jetliner skids off a runway in rough weather then breaks in two. tonight the remarkable outcome. the evidence being questioned now in the case of the american college student convicted of killing her roommate in italy. will amanda knox go free? and another royal wedding. this time it's prince williams's cousin zara in a private ceremony but joined by many of her famous relatives. -- captions by vitac --
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good evening. president obama has stepped back into the fray over raising the nation's borrowing limit after the senate and house rejected each other's legislation. at this point we're a little over 72 hours away from the point the nation will be unable to pay all of its bills and risk default. and against that looming deadline the president today reopened a dialogue with republican leaders who tonight now say they're confident the impasse will be broken in time. democratic leaders, on the other hand, are far less optimistic. a deal, of course, is going to require something that up until now neither side has been keen on, compromise. that blatant partisanship that has led to this drama has a lot of us shaking our heads. on the nightly news facebook page we got an earful. "fed up and embarrassed. horrified, nauseated were some of the many comments". we have a series of reports. we begin with nbc's luke russert
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on capitol hill to tell us where things go from here. >> reporter: good evening, lester. in a special weekend session both the house and senate made clear what plans they would not support to extend the nation's credit limit. as it stands, leaders are still try this. ing to find a compromise to avert default. the house and senate continue trading shots at as the clock ticks down to a possible default. >> it is long past time for the senate to pass something. their negligence threatens the fiscal health of this nation. >> what will they vote for? >> reporter: the republican-controlled house voted to reject a senate debt extension plan even before its version was offered. last night senate democrats voted down a plan from house speaker john boehner saying an addition of a balanced budget amendment to win over house conservatives went too far. >> tonight a bipartisan majority in the senate rejected boehner's short term plan. >> reporter: as members went to
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strategy sessions, leaders came forward in duelling news conferences saying they want to find a solution. >> we are now fully engaged, the speaker and i, with the one person in america out of 307 million people who can sign a bill into law. >> we can still change this. if my republican colleagues acting in good faith come to me with a proposal, that's what we will do. >> reporter: shortly after democratic leaders were called to the white house by president obama to discuss a way forward. the next few days, crucial to a resolution of a debt impasse. an early sunday morning procedural vote in the senate for the reid plan. a final vote would have to come before tuesday, the august 2nd debt deadline. this week has seen many angry constituents flooding congressional phone lines, demanding an answer to the debt crisis. today even members of congress got on the line to hear voters' concern. on a scorcher of a date in washington, visitors waiting to court capitol also weighed in. >> social security, we don't know what's going to happen with that. >> i think it's utterly
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ridiculous that our lawmakers can't come to come kind of consensus on what's best for the country. >> reporter: now lester it's crunch time. we can report the president has been in contact with republican leaders by phone. we mentioned that democratic leaders were recently just at the white house when senator harry reid returned to the capitol he was asked by reporters if the meeti led to them being closer to a compromise with republicans. he said the answer is no. lester? >> luke russert on the hill for us. we want to go now to the white house and check in with nbc's mike vacara. mike, good evening to you. >> reporter: good evening. after weeks of fits and starts, the two sides appeared this afternoon to be moving closer. but as we come on the air tonight, another angry dispute between the two leaders of the senate breaking out into the open on the senate floor. lester, the key to all this at this point is senate republicans. and indeed white house officials confirm that for the first time in days so far as we know, the president spoke directly with mitch mcconnell, the republican leader in the senate. later he met here at the white
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house with harry reid and nancy pelosi, the democratic leaders of congress. of course the first time they have met face-to-face in a week. lester, not really much separates the two sides. the bottom line for the white house, the debt ceiling be raised high enough, $2.5 trillion, to last until after next year's elections. for republicans they simply want any debt ceiling rise to be matched dollar for dollar with spending cuts, and they don't want to raise any taxes. lester, one more tring. treasury officials say they're looking at who gets paid and who does not in the event that deadline is missed but they're not ready to reveal any detail yet which brings us to our next story, mike. we've been telling you if the u.s. passes the tuesday night deadline without a deal to increase the debt ceiling, then the government is going to have to make some very tough choices as to what gets paid and what doesn't. that's causing anxiety from wall street to the battle fields of afghanistan. as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen, discovered for himself today, nbc's jim wikachenski is
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traveling with him. >> reporter: here at the hot spots of kandahar, american soldiers and marines are still dodging bullets, rockets and road side bombs every day. amazingly, when they had a chance to throw questions at the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen, their number one concern was the ongoing debate back home over the debt ceiling. >> the checkbook is not unlimited. >> reporter: admiral mullen told soldiers at kandahar that if the talks failed they'd still have to fight but they might not get paid. >> there are plenty of you that are living paycheck to paycheck. so if paychecks were to stop, it can have a devastating impact and it can have a devastating impact pretty quickly. >> reporter: at camp leatherneck, mullen told marines given the state of the u.s. economy, all the services face a cutback in the size of the force, and maybe even military benefits. >> we're going to have to tighten our belts. we're going to have to prioritize, have to make some hard decisions.
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>> reporter: so here in the middle of the war zone like many americans these service members are worried about their jobs and are asking, what the heck is going on back in washington? lester? >> our chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd joins us now. chuck, we heard there that troops there are putting a face to this issue of what happens if the u.s. can't pay its bills. does this or anything like this have any effect on lawmakers in these final hours? >> reporter: if it doesn't it should. i have to say that was pretty sobering to see. i read about this, knew what admiral mullen had said in response to this question. but when you see it and you see those young faces and you know those are young families, you've got to think this does have an impact at end of the day. we already know about 15 republican senators who are not interested in keeping this standoff going any longer. >> as much drama as we're witnessing, in the back of i think a lot of our minds it's like well they'll figure it out.
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they always get right down to the wire and figure it out. how do they get there 72 hours from now to tuesday? how do they get there? >> reporter: obviously there's a dispute right now happening between senator reid and senator mcconnel. that relationship and their talks are not going well. but we do know vice-president biden in particular has a good relationship with mitch mcconnell. they've been on the phone twice already i can tell you just late this afternoon. they're talking. they're close to figuring out this second part of this deal, which is this idea of how do you guarantee a second round of deficit reductions? we know there's going to be over $1 trillion up front, then there's going to be a second round about six months from now. how do you guarantee it? that's where they're stuck. they're close. i don't think we're going to hear the deal tonight, though, lester. maybe tomorrow. >> chuck todd in our washington bureau. chuck, thanks much more on the debt debate tomorrow morning on "meet the press". white house senior advisor david plouffe will be among gregory's desk. >> a reminder that brian williams anchors a prime time
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special report "taking the hill inside congress" tomorrow night at 7:00, 6:00 central time. we're getting our first look tonight at incredible pictures of a caribbean airlines plane that split in half while landing in rough weather in guyana. the question tonight, how did all 163 people on board manage to survive? nbc's jeff rossen has our report. >> reporter: as paramedics arrives, the jet ripped in two off the runway, it looked like another airline tragedy. >> this is one of the worst aviation mishaps in recorded memory in guyana. >> reporter: but soon passengers would emerge, all of them afive. >> we have to jump off the plane. and my shoulder here is messed up. >> reporter: after departing no, the caribbean airlines flight stopped in trinidad and flew onto guyana,there. in heavy rain the boeing 737 touched down and skidded off the runway, stopping just 200 feet
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short of a ravine. thinking it was over, passengers say they clapped. that's when the cabin broke in half. >> when the plane landed i told my friend, man, we gonna die. we gone in a die. because the plane, it don't have enough runway to stop. >> it happened suddenly. everybody was hysterical, screaming. >> reporter: there were 163 people on board. dozens were injured. most of them have already been released from the hospital. >> it's amazing to leave an aircraft in that shape with a handful of very small injuries. >> reporter: while it's rare, planes have broken apart before with no deaths. two years ago, this american airlines 737 slammed into the runway in jamaica, finally coming to a halt and breaking apart. all 154 people aboard survived. >> the seats have been increased in strength so that they will now withstand 16 times the force of gravity before they depart the floor.
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>> reporter: this weekend, the ntsb is sending a team to the crash site in guyana, looking not only for what went wrong but what went right. jeff rossen, nbc news, new york. meantime, back in this country, two delta airlines jets are being inspected for damage after colliding on the car mack in chicago. both planes were backing away from the gates last night at o'hair when they clipped wings. no one was hurt. earlier this month, another pair of delta jets collided on the taxiway in boston the storm once known as tropical storm don fizzled along the texas coast dropping less than an inch of rain there overnight before moving south into mexico. the storm was seen as the best chance for some heavy rain in south texas in months. as the state suffers from a historic drought. it's so dry in texas, cattle and crop losses will start affecting food prices across the country. and as nbc's charles hadlock reports, some texas cities are resorting to desperate measures.
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>> reporter: at this sale barn in waco, the auctiauctioneer ca keep up. ranchers can no longer feed them, their pastures have turned to dust. and their ponds, which should be filleded with fresh water, are bone dry. michael steinhauser runs a farm and ranch business in the worst drought in a generation. >> this will be one that people will talk about for years to come. >> reporter: it's one consumers will be paying for in grocery stores in the month ahead. there's plenty of beef on the market. the cattle being sold today are keeping prices down. but what about six months from now? >> let's say next year it rained and they wanted to replenish their herd. they want to get some more cows. where do you find those cows when so many of them have been sold already? >> reporter: the same is true for the price of corn, wheat and soy beans used in so many grocery products. already up 4% from last year. like these sunflowers, they've
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all wilted in the texas drought. in west texas, where people can't remember the last time it rained, they still somehow have a sense of humor about it. but make no mistake. this is a serious drought. large lakes that supply drinking water to west texas cities are mere puddles. in this lake, less than 1% of the water is left. pump stations are high and dry. with lakes and water tanks running dangerously low, cities are desperate to find new sources of water. and one may have found it in an unlikely if not unpleasant source. sewage water. the city of big spring is so desperate for water, it's building a plant to recycle its sewage. >> the quality of water that we're going to be producing from the production facility is essentially water that you could deliver to somebody's path. >> reporter: fresh or not, for now it's the only water in sight as the dry texas wind brings no
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rain. charles hadlock, nbc news, big spring, texas in the horn of africa, refugees from somalia continue to flee the famine in that country today, pouring into unicef relief camps in ethiopia and kenya in search of food and shelter. president obama met this week with the presidents of four african nations calling for a greater international response. when nbc nightly news continues, this saturday, was today a turning point for the american college student convicted of murder in italy? and later, another royal wedding day in britain. but for will and kate, this time the pressure was off. transitions adapt to changing light so you see your whole day comfortably... and conveniently while protecting your eyes from the sun. ask your eyecare professional
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go to to learn about a free trial offer. it is a pivotal weekend in the appeals trial of amanda knox, convicted in an italian court of killing her roommate. dna is at the center of this case, and court-appointed forensics experts sayed evidence used against knox and her boyfriend was badly flawed and possibly contaminated by investigators. nbc's keith miller has our report tonight from perugia. >> reporter: knox appeared buoy ant as she entered court today. her mother edda was there to offer support in the final stages of the appeal. the prosecution spent the day lashing out at the findings of an independent panel of forensic scientists who called the dna evidence used to convict knox unreliable. the judge read a letter from the head of italy's police forensic team, defending the professionalism of his officers.
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the findings of the independent forensic scientists is a major embarrassment to the italian crime scene investigators on this case. they are accused of more than 50 breaches of international forensic protocols. the most damaging finding by the independent experts is the absence of dna from the victim on the alleged murder weapon, a kitchen knife. the prosecution contended it was there. that new finding, according to a leading criminal attorney in rome, appears to seriously undermine the prosecution's case. >> if i were reviewing this from an american point of view, i would say most definitely it looks like a slam-dunk. >> reporter: not so, argued the prosecutor, who claimed today there could have been a mistake during the retesting of the dna material. the knox family remains optimistic, but upset judicial delays in the appeal mean knox will spend another summer behind bars. >> it's unfortunate now that there's going to be delays again
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and that they'll have to sit another summer in the heat in jail while everybody else goes on vacation. >> reporter: the appeal trial will resume in september, after the annual august vacation. the judge will then have three options. he can overturn the conviction, reduce the prison sentence, or even impose a harsher sentence if yet more new evidence sways the case. keith miller, nbc news, perugia. >> when we come back, son of sam, 35 years later. a look back at a serial killer's reign of terror. [ male announcer ] this is coach parker...
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because it offers a superior level of protection and because u.s.a.a.'s commitment to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto insurance quote. u.s.a.a. we know what it means to serve. police in norway revealed today that man who confessed to killing 77 people told them he had more targets in mind, including the royal palace in oslo. authorities say anders breivik showed no emotion when they told him how many people he'd killed. meantime, this weekend marks the 35th anniversary of the start of another infamous murder spree that took place in this country. it was the work of a serial killer known as the son of sam. for more than a year, his random string of killings and shootings virtually paralyzed the new york city area with fear. >> it was the mad man with
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the .44. a psychopath whose cryptic letters gave him a thrill and a name. the son of sam. between 1976 and 1977, he turned the streets of new york into his hunting ground. this week marks the 35th anniversary of his murder spree. the terror began in the early morning hours of july 29th, 1976, 18-year-old donna laurea who lived in this bronx apartment building with her family was sitting outside in a parked car right about here talking with a friend. she noticed a man standing nearby. without a word, that man pulled out a .44 caliber handgun from a brown paper bag and opened fire. donna was killed instantly. her friend survived. over the next 13 months, five more lives would be cut down. six others injured. the city was on edge, and the headlines ran with stories of the unknown gunman. >> the son of sam case. he never robbed or raped, he simply killed at random, in cold
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blood. >> the manhunt eventually led to a 24-year-old postal worker named david berkowitz. with the help of a palm print, a parking ticket and a ba his ticks match, he was arrested outside his home and the nightmare was over. >> i walked into that room with full intentions of whacking this guy. at least punching him out. >> retired homicide detective joe coffee led the search for the son of sam. and it was coffee who was one of the first to interrogate him. >> he didn't blink for three hours. and he had a constant smile on his face sitting there. >> coffee says the motive was born out of the death of berkowitz's adoptive mother and his hatred of women. sentenced to life in prison, berkowit zwrkz says he has undergone a religious transformation, becoming born again. he expressed remorse for the murders. >> i'd like to be remembered as a person who's sorry for what happened and is doing everything in his power to try this. to make amends to society in any
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way possible. >> 35 years later, a serial killer asking for forgiveness for an act of evil that many will never forget. in preparing this report, we contacted david berkowitz serving his sentence in a prison north of new york city. he responded with a letter expressing remorse saying i western i could go back in time to have prevented it up next tonight, another wedding for the british royals. ? host: do people use smartphones to do dumb things? man 1: send, that is the weekend. app grapgic: yeah dawg! man 2: allow me to crack...the bubbly! man 1: don't mind if i doozy. man 3: is a gentleman with a brostache invited over to this party? man 1: only if he's ready to rock! ♪ sfx: guitar and trumpet jam vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. i see you're flatulent in three languages. graduated top of your gas. [ male announcer ] got gas on your mind?
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stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. ask your doctor if cialis for daily use is right for you. for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to is best absorbed in small continuous amounts. only one calcium supplement does that in one daily dose. new citracal slow release... continuously releases calcium plus d for the efficient absorption my body needs. citracal. been another fairytale royal wedding in britain. just three months ago crowds packed the streets of london and billions tuned in around the world to watch prince william marry kate middleton. this time it was william's cousin walking down the aisle.
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but as nbc's stephanie gosk reports, this was a far more low-key affair. >> reporter: it's a good year to be a royal. weddings do wonders for public support. a larger than expected crowd outside the church let it be known. the royal finery was on display for the second time this year. big cheers for the newlyweds the duke and duchess of cambridge. for this wedding the pressure was off. the bride and groom are relative unknowns outside the u.k. zara phillip is the queen's oldest granddaughter and 13th in line to the thrown. her husband mike tindle is the captain of england's rugby team. they said it would be a private occasion. >> no place the queen and william and kate are attending can be wholly private. >> reporter: there were no cameras in the church. not like in april when 2 billion people around the world got front row seats. this time only 400 guests were invited, and the public wasn't
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openly encouraged to light streets. they may have chosen this because of this road, the royal mile. it's so narrow it limits the crowd size. three months ago in london they had 2 million spectators for william and kathryn's wedding. here they're expecting about 1500. but there were some people you couldn't keep away. >> a lot of people say that royal family -- the monarchy is a thing of the past. >> no, no. don't you believe it. >> no, no. >> reporter: zara phillips is not your typical royal. princess ann, her mother, did not give her a title at birth. instead, encouraging independence. and phillips, who made her name as a professional equestrian, says she won't take her husband's name, a modern approach that sets a royal precedent. but there was still plenty of royal tradition on display, from the order of the arrivals to the reception at the queen's residence. the latest generation of the monarchy is striking their own balance between the new and the old. and from the response they've received in scotland, it seems to be working. stephanie gosk, nbc news, edin
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brou that's nbc nightly news for this saturday. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. i'll see you tomorrow morning on today. i'll see you tomorrow morning on today. good night, everyone. captions paid for by nbc-universal television baby caughing... baby wheezing... baby caughing... anncr: congress can't ignore the facts. more air pollution means more childhood asthma attacks. baby caughing... anncr: log on to

NBC Nightly News
NBC July 30, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Texas 6, Nbc News 4, Guyana 4, Mullen 3, Knox 3, Cialis 3, Italy 3, New York 3, Washington 3, David Berkowitz 2, Kandahar 2, Jeff Rossen 2, Mike Mullen 2, West Texas 2, Stephanie Gosk 2, Chuck Todd 2, Keith Miller 2, Obama 2, Harry Reid 2, London 2
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